We know buying a home is very important decision. For a family with children the most important factor for that decision is choosing the school that is right for your child. While nothing can replace the active involvement of the parent at home, as well as, volunteering in the classroom for your child’s education. The first question when moving to a new area with children is what are the “best” schools in the area. Although, the question should be what is the “Right” school for your child and family lifestyle.
One would think the first thing to do is to research the test scores in the schools in the area, however, test scores only tell a small portion of what the school has to offer. Let’s explore some questions you may want to ask yourself before eliminating a school just because of test scores:
1. Are other schools teaching to test only?
Because standardized test only account for a small amount of what a child should be learning in a grade level, it is important you make sure the curriculum is covering the basics plus enhancing them for the next level of education. Most important is the fact all children do not test as well as others.
2. How well do the teachers interact with the students?
You can not find this information on a list of test scores or on the internet from one or two parents upset leaving negative remarks on a school rating site. This information could only be obtained by a school visit. You know your child. You can request based off your child’s way of learning a teacher to help the learning environment. If your child learns better with more of a nurturing approach needing constant validation or more authoritative approach to push them to do higher. You may also want to ask what other grades the teacher has taught, what kind of continuing training the teachers receive and how often.
3. Does the school offer any extra-curriculum activities or clubs?
With testing becoming the main focus in governmental politic and budget cuts throughout many schools, extra activities besides academia has been tossed aside. Check to see if your child will be introduced to physical education, sports, art, or even a second language. Is the school getting volunteers from the business community to explore and expose them to other great opportunities?
4. Are private or charter schools a better fit?
This question could be a post within itself because in many cases such as a child that is on a traveling golf team or in a family where the parent travels alot, which makes him/her miss too many days for a pubic school. Private schools usually have more lenient with school schedules. On the other hand I quote an article by Kayla Webley from US Time, “There is no colloquial designation that guarantees quality. Just the word charter or private does not mean the school is a success. In fact, Peg Tyre said, only 1 in 5 charter schools performs better than the schools they replace. “There is no uniformly great private school, no uniformly great charter school and no uniformly great public school,” Tyre said. “There is no easy name that you can gravitate toward that will allow you to suspend judgment.” So do your homework. The public school down the road could be just as good as the private school that costs $30,000 a year.